Encourage

Sow What?  Our call to Encourage…

The philosopher Nietzhe said that in life you are either the anvil or the hammer… the one being banged on or the one doing the banging.  There’s enough truth in that statement for Martin Luther King Jr. to have picked it up.  He used it in a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church.  But he knew that the imagery of the hammer and the anvil was too hard, too violent, too solid, and inflexible.  So he changed the metaphor.  Which will you be MLK asked:  the thermometer or the thermostat?

Will you be that agent of change who brings the room to a better temperature, or will you just be that one who reads what’s already there?  The passive thermometer, or the active thermostat?  It seems like an easy to answer question.  For the one who follows the Jesus who taught us to pray that it might be on earth as it is in heaven…  for the one who taught us to concern ourselves with the least of these… for the Jesus follower the choice is clear:  thermostat!

But, but… better to be a thermometer than a broken thermostat.  A broken thermostat can send a car into overheating, can ruin an air-conditioner into a frozen state, where it won’t cool… a broken thermostat will heat a room when it needs cooling, or cool a cold room.

Better to just read the temp, than send it in the wrong direction.  But here’s the other rub.  We really don’t have a choice.  By our very presence in the world we change its temp.  We either do it well or do it poorly.

Jesus, in a different day, didn’t use thermostats but used seeds.  There is here a pretty clear illustration of that divine/human partnership where we do the sowing and God does the growing.

Sow what?

James 3:17  “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

We cast these seeds of peace, of encouragement, of understanding, of edification, of faith… faith where we see in others what maybe they don’t even see in themselves… faith that God is doing more than we can ever ask or imagine,  faith that we scatter our positive words, and God is germinating a mustard seed plant.

And this is, of course, the point of that illustration.  It’s a small inconsequential seed… it can’t have any impact… but look at what happens while you’re sleeping!  Look!  Look!   A bit old bush of a plant… from that little bitty seed!

Do not grandparents, underestimate the power of your positive words. Do not teachers, forget the life sustaining power of your hugs. Do not … forget that in your homes you can change the room temperature.

Mary Chaffin Carpenter says that some days you are the windshield and some days the bug.  Maybe so.  But all days we change the temperature of any room into which we walk.

Pastor Scott Stearman